Illinois probably isn't the first US state that jumps to mind as you're brainstorming vacation destinations, but the "Land of Lincoln" just might surprise you with how much it has to offer. The state's most obvious draw is Chicago, an international hub of commerce, culture, technology, transportation, and more. You could spend your entire trip in the Chicago metropolitan area and still barely see a fraction of the city's sights. But beyond the big city lie fascinating historical, natural, and cultural hidden gems worth checking out.
As you plan your trip to Illinois, remember to add visitors medical insurance or travel insurance to your to-do list. If you encounter a travel or health mishap, the right insurance could save you a significant amount of money.
Visitors Medical Insurance for Travelers in Illinois – FAQs
Visitor medical insurance covers new, unforeseen illness or injuries and can help recover financial losses caused by emergency medical expenses, acute onset of pre-existing conditions, emergency medical evacuation, return of mortal remains, and other scenarios like urgent care visits and telemedicine (depending upon the plan) for non-US residents visiting Illinois.
Do I need visitors medical insurance for Illinois?
There is no legal requirement for tourists to have visitors medical insurance to enter the United States. But when you consider the astronomical cost of healthcare in America, every visitor should have it. Just a single hospital stay can do irreparable financial damage if you do not have insurance in the USA.
Why buy visitors medical insurance before traveling to Illinois?
As we’ve established, it would be foolish to visit the USA without health insurance. But the domestic insurance from your home country won’t cover you here. You also cannot be covered by your family member’s insurance just because they live in the USA. You must have visitors medical insurance for health coverage. Otherwise, you will be responsible for paying any medical bills you incur out of your own pocket.
And remember, the average cost of a single day in the hospital in the USA is over $13,000 without insurance. If you cannot afford to pay that or much, much more, you need visitors medical insurance.
Trip Cancellation Insurance for Travelers in Illinois – FAQs
Trip cancellation insurance is primarily meant to protect you from unexpected costs due to unintended cancellations, delays, or interruptions to your travel plans, and is typically available only to US residents.
Why should I get trip cancellation insurance for my Illinois travel?
If you’ve booked a flight to Illinois, and perhaps a nice hotel room in Chicago or Springfield, the total cost will not be insignificant. If you’re forced to cancel your trip, you could stand to lose all of the money you’ve already paid, as these costs are typically nonrefundable. With trip cancellation insurance, you can be reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses, so long as the trip was cancelled for a covered reason.
What can be covered by trip cancellation insurance for Illinois?
As mentioned, Illinois travel insurance typically covers scenarios related to trip cancellation, trip interruption, and travel delay. However, it can cover more than that. Travel insurance for Illinois can provide emergency medical coverage in case your trip takes you out-of-network. Depending upon the plan, you can even elect to purchase cancel for any reason travel insurance for extra flexibility.
Illinois’ Most Popular Places for Travel
Being one of the world’s most influential cities, Chicago is a major draw to Illinois; one which we will touch on. However, a trip to Illinois wouldn’t be complete if you never left Chicagoland. Here are the top places to visit in Illinois, both in and outside of Chicago
The Windy City
Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan amidst a sprawling metropolis of nine million, Chicago is the third-most populous city in the United States and home to countless cultural, educational, and architectural institutions. If you're an international visitor flying straight into Illinois, odds are that you'll arrive at one of the city's two international airports, either Midway or O'Hare.
In Chicago, top sites you shouldn’t miss include the Art Institute of Chicago with its 300,000+ works, the hands-on Museum of Science and Industry, famous Wrigley Field for some baseball, Navy Pier, and of course, the Willis Tower Skydeck, from which you can view the bustling city streets some 1,350 feet below.
The Capital City
Springfield, Illinois was US President Abraham Lincoln's hometown before he took office. As such, it's definitely worth visiting if you're a history buff. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum holds important papers, manuscripts, pictures, and maps from his life. The museum also has a full-size replica log cabin and a recreation of Ford's Theater, where he was assassinated. Similarly, Lincoln Home National Historic Site was built in 1839 and was the only home besides the White House that he and his wife ever lived in. Guided tours are free for visitors. Lincoln's tomb is located in Oak Ridge Cemetery, a popular historic destination.
Ready to enjoy the outdoors? Starved Rock State Park, located on the Illinois River, offers a slew of outdoor sights and activities. It's known for its scenic canyons and waterfalls, as well as guided or unguided hikes, fishing, boating, picnicking, horseback riding, camping, and winter sports.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the largest prehistoric Native American settlement north of Mexico. It was home to the Mississippian culture from about 700 A.D. to 1400 A.D. and at its peak had anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants. It holds more than 120 earthen mounds with Monks Mound, more than 100 feet high, at the center. A museum and cultural center, it exhibits audiovisual presentations, artifacts, dioramas, and a life-size village recreation.
Finally, if you want something a little more relaxing, consider Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford. It's a 10-acre Japanese-style garden designed as a peaceful retreat center featuring waterfalls, ponds, streams, rock formations, winding paths, a teahouse, and a guesthouse. It's the ideal site to observe natural beauty and to enjoy quiet, thoughtful contemplation.
Key Guidelines for Travelers in Illinois
If it’s your first time visiting Illinois, it’s important to know what to look out for, and what to keep in mind. Here are our top tips for visiting the Land of Lincoln.
Best Time to Visit
Illinois is in the Midwestern US, which means it experiences all four seasons. Winters can be frigid and snowy, while summers are hot and humid. If you plan to spend some time outdoors, late spring and early fall typically have the most pleasant weather. Just keep in mind that strong thunderstorms, including tornadoes, are possible. This is especially the case in springtime.
Crime and Safety
Chicago has developed a reputation for exceptionally high crime over the past few decades, and it’s not entirely deserved. Out of the 100 most populous cities in the US, Chicago ranks number 57 in total crime rate. In other words, it’s no more dangerous than any other large American city. Still, crime is a concern. Keep your valuables secure in public or when using public transport, and avoid traveling to unfamiliar areas alone at night.
Outside of the Chicago area, Illinois is more rural. Just use basic common sense like locking your car and hotel/vacation rental property doors.
In Chicago, it’s easy to get around using the elevated train system known as the Chicago “L.” The “L” serves 145 train stations, and is ridden by over 300,000 people each day. Also available are a variety of taxi and ride-sharing services. Regional commuter rail networks provide transport to the city’s more distant suburbs.
Beyond Chicago, you will likely need to depend on renting a car to get around Illinois, as inter-city rail transport across the rest of the state is sparse.
Before You Travel to Illinois – Do This
- Pack for the season – Illinois weather can run the gamut from frigid cold to boiling hot. Look at the weather forecast, and pack appropriate clothing.
- Download a visitor guide from the Illinois Tourism Board. It will help you not miss out on attractions and events.
- Protect yourself – Research and purchase the right visitors medical insurance or travel insurance for your needs.